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  "The Long, Lonely Leap" (Kittinger) and other stories of Project Manhigh

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Author Topic:   "The Long, Lonely Leap" (Kittinger) and other stories of Project Manhigh
Philip
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From: Brussels, Belgium
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posted 11-21-2001 03:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anyone know if the book by Col. Joe Kittinger and Martin Caiden entitled "The Long, Lonely Leap" is still available? I guess not but there might be a reprint?

Back in the 1950s and early 1960s, long before liquid-fuel rockets were fully operational, a small group of military men made the first exploratory trips into the upper stratosphere to the edge of outer space in tiny capsules suspended beneath plastic balloons. Doctors, physicists, meteorologists, engineers, astronomers, and test pilots, they made tremendous personal sacrifices and took great risks for the promise of adventure and the opportunity to uncover a few precious secrets of the universe.

One of their number, Capt. Joseph Kittinger, rode a balloon up to 103,000 feet in an open gondola and then stepped out and free fell to Earth, becoming the only person to break the sound barrier without a vehicle. Lt. Col. David Simons stayed aloft for a full day and night in a primitive pressurized capsule to become one of the first to see the curvature of the planet.

I know there is a new book available entitled "The Pre-Astronauts: Manned Ballooning on the Threshold of Space" by Craig Ryan.

Other superb but hard to find books on Project Manhigh are:

"Manhigh" (1960 by Don Sache, NY Avon)

"US Air Force Program for Developing the Spacecraft Crew" (1959 by Gantz & Kenneth, NY Duell)

For those searching good photos on the Stratosphere Ballooning with Strato-Lab gondola, try to find the LIFE magazines and/or National Geographic magazines published in 1950s on this amazing (but forgotten?) subject!

albatron@aol.com
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posted 11-22-2001 10:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for albatron@aol.com   Click Here to Email albatron@aol.com     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No, unfortunately "The Long, Lonely Leap" is long out of print as is "Project Manhigh" by Col. Simons. I'm not aware of any reprints.

"The Pre-Astronauts" is a fine book, and another one is "The Holloman Story" by George F. Meeter. As it was issued in 1967, I'm sure its out of print as well. I was fortunate enough to have found a first edition and have it already signed by Col. Stapp and Col Kittinger, and will send it off to Col. Simons.

Best, Al

Philip
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From: Brussels, Belgium
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posted 07-21-2007 07:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Another book on this topic:

"Touching Space: The Story of Project Manhigh"

Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Schiffer Pub Ltd (August 15, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0764327887
ISBN-13: 978-0764327889

gliderpilotuk
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posted 07-21-2007 07:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for that Philip. I recently picked up "Man in Space" for 35 from a German aviation bookseller. It's a good technical read from the 1959 standpoint.

Paul

garymilgrom
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posted 07-21-2007 10:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There is a thread about "The Pre-Astronauts" here.

Philip
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posted 07-21-2007 12:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"Touching Space: The Story of Project Manhigh" can be pre-ordered via Amazon

dtemple
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posted 07-21-2007 06:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dtemple   Click Here to Email dtemple     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by albatron@aol.com:
No unfortunately "The Long, Lonely Leap" is long out of print as is "Project Manhigh" by Col. Simons. I'm not aware of any reprints.
I thought "The Long, Lonely Leap" was going to be re-issued. What happened?

albatron@aol.com
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posted 07-21-2007 06:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for albatron@aol.com   Click Here to Email albatron@aol.com     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It was suppose to be - however there have been problems with the original publisher. Hopefully it can get straightened out.

nasamad
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posted 08-26-2007 07:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for nasamad   Click Here to Email nasamad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The December 1960 issue of National Geographic has a 19 page feature article based around the book, "The Long, Lonely Leap".

The issues are now available as CD-ROM's for entire decades and they make great reading.

Adam

stsmithva
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posted 08-26-2007 08:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for stsmithva   Click Here to Email stsmithva     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is of course just a blurb compared to the books being discussed, but the August 1, 2003 issue of Esquire magazine featured in their "What It Feels Like..." column this first-person account of the 103,000-foot leap by Kittinger:
quote:
What It Feels Like... to Parachute from Space

By Joe Kittinger, 74, retired Air Force test pilot, who has held the world parachuting record, 102,800 feet, since 1960, as told to David Pfister

I was in an area where no man had ever been before. I was in a gondola piloting a helium balloon nineteen miles above Earth. I was wearing a pressurized suit, carrying 330 pounds of equipment. You're very confined. It's 100 degrees below zero, but I had multiple layers of clothing, so I didn't feel the cold too much.

Overhead it's absolutely black. There's no light whatsoever. And the transition from sky to space is so amazing; you just can't believe the way the shades of blue blend together. It goes from sky blue to a deep, dark blue to black. It's completely silent; you can't hear anything. You can really only hear yourself breathing.

I was over the New Mexico desert and could see four hundred miles in every direction, but I wasn't there to enjoy the aesthetics of it. I was very pleased to be leaving. The quicker I could get back, the better chance I had of living. I went through my checklist. There were about forty-six items, such as turning on the oxygen supply in my kit. Then I got up, stood at the door, hit the final switch, and jumped.

There were two equal dangers: One was that if the pressure suit fails, your blood boils and you suffocate. The other was spinning out of control. In a flat spin, the centrifugal force floods the brain with blood.

Jumping from a balloon is much different from jumping out of an airplane. With an airplane, you've already got the windblast and the sensation of falling. When you're jumping out of a balloon, you've got zero velocity. Initially you're not moving at all, and then you accelerate. There's no wind resistance, so it's hard to tell your speed. I maneuvered onto my back, and I saw the balloon shooting into space like a rocket. That's when I knew I was going very fast.

At about ninety thousand feet, I did 714 miles per hour, but from then on, as I fell, I was constantly slowing down as the atmosphere increased.

The parachute went off after four minutes and thirty-six seconds of free fall. I was extremely happy when it opened, because once the parachute's open, the rest of the jump is anticlimactic. It took another thirteen minutes or so to get to the ground, but I knew I had survived the cold, I had survived the lack of pressure, and I had survived the dreaded spin. And we had demonstrated a means of escape from space for air crews and astronauts. When I got to the ground, I said, "Gentlemen, I'm glad to be back with you."


Philip
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posted 09-08-2007 01:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OH3gPZt8oG4&mode=related&search=

stsmithva
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posted 09-08-2007 03:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for stsmithva   Click Here to Email stsmithva     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The video that Philip posted starts with 90 seconds about gravity pulling stars, but then there is a good four minutes on Kittinger. The footage of his leap was jittery and blurry, but it still made my palms sweat. I did a static-line jump once out of a plane at a few thousand feet, and I had the strange, powerful thought "This is impossible. There is no way I could be doing this." I wonder if he thought something similar as he hit, oh, 600 mph.

Steve

medaris
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posted 09-08-2007 03:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for medaris   Click Here to Email medaris     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I hadn't seen the film of the jump. Just confirms to me that I'm severely lacking in the right stuff! What a remarkable man.

Philip
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posted 10-03-2007 12:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
At the 50th anniversary of the first space mission, I received my copy of: "Touching Space - The Story of Project Manhigh"

A must-have book for spaceflight buffs, about the USAF Balloon projects with pre-astronauts such as David Simons, Clifton McClure, Joe Kittinger and the crew of the StratoLab High V gondola (Malcolm Ross & Victor Prather).

Softcover by Gregory P Kennedy with 134 glossy pages and lots of B&W and color photos. (ISBN 978-0-7643-2788-9)

mjanovec
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posted 10-03-2007 01:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by stsmithva:
I did a static-line jump once out of a plane at a few thousand feet, and I had the strange, powerful thought "This is impossible. There is no way I could be doing this." I wonder if he thought something similar as he hit, oh, 600 mph.

I recall Kittinger saying that he really had no sensation of falling when he made the jump. In fact, it was only after looking up at the balloon (and seeing it appear to move upwards away from him at an incredible rate of speed) did he realize just how fast he was falling.

cspg
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posted 10-04-2007 03:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On a related topic, for French and German readers who receive the tv channel ARTE, there was a show about the "first astronauts" including Kittinger aired Oct. 1. I haven't seen it but will try to tape it next time. Repeats are: Oct. 9, 14h00 and Oct 17 10h50 both Swiss times.

Chris.

1202 Alarm
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posted 10-04-2007 03:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 1202 Alarm   Click Here to Email 1202 Alarm     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It was just great. Footage never seen before, great interviews of Kittinger, a must-see.

I didn't check, but www.arte.tv offer a 7 days internet broadcast of their program after first airplay. Maybe you can see this documentary there.

All times are CT (US)

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